When Did Common Sense Become Less Common?

January 26th, 2010 by | Print


I wrote a piece a couple of weeks back titled, “Can Great Marketing Save a Bad Business Model”. I came across a story today that falls somewhat into this category about Holiday Inn and “human bed-warmers”.

I can’t directly tie this new story to my previous post because the marketing campaign is still out, but we should expect Holiday Inn to have just a few extra dollars to spend on a worthy campaign since they are in the process of launching 3,200 new locations worldwide.

Here’s the scoop – Europe is in the midst of a bitterly cold winter. Some genius at Holiday Inn decides to collaborate with a human sleep expert and introduce the option of having a staffer jump into a one-piece flannel jumpsuit, with a lovely hairnet of course, and lay in your bed to bring it up to temperature (68 F) before you arrive. They’re doing a trial run of this service at three locations in England this month.

I’ll start with a couple of praises before I lead into my negative comments. It’s how my parents raised me.

I’ll give Holiday Inn credit for trying to solve a problem by partnering with an expert, applying creativity and doing a trial run. I imagine this new approach pays a staffer to lay around on the job who might otherwise be … well … laying around on the job, while keeping cost down by not using electric blankets or hot water bottles.

Ok, I’m trying my best to be kind. Now on with my overwhelming belief.

Although expert studies indicate, jumping into a cold bed inhibits your ability to fall asleep quickly, so does thinking that some creepy flannel human crepe with a hairnet was just lying between your sheets.

Here are some other studies that Holiday Inn must have ignored.

IndependentTraveler.com, one of the world’s leading sites giving travel tips wrote a piece starting with, “Your hotel room is your home away from home, with a few exceptions – hundreds of strangers from every corner of the world have slept there, …” and now add one more before they wash the sheets.

IndependentTraveler.com goes on to recommend that you throw off the bedspread since it is a wide known fact that most hotels do not launder it after every unique visit. So now, not only has Holiday Inn possibly not cleaned your bedspread, they’re going to soil your sheets for you as a service, too. How are you supposed to stay warm sleeping if you have to remove your bedspread and sheets?

Last year, The University of Virginia performed a study to determine that participants infected with the common cold left transferrable contaminants on 35% of the objects they touched in a hotel room after spending only one evening.

And last, but not least, if Holiday Inn took a poll of people to gauge their honest reaction, I bet they would find an overwhelming negative response. When did they simply take common sense out of the equation? What in their studies (or saving of their bottom line) could allow them to negate simple common sense in favor of statistics, when gathered with an agenda, can support just about any idea?

Although I am using this Holiday Inn story as an example, you need to take time when you’re creating your business plan, or thinking about launching a new product or service, or going after a new market, to be open to the fact that it might be a bad idea. Don’t let your idea get the better of you and have you solely look for evidence to support it.

And when all else fails, apply some common sense. Ask some people to give their honest opinion. If you’re receiving back an abundance of questions and negative comments instead of enthusiasm, don’t let your ego get the better of you.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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